Sights and Sounds on Spring Peeper Trail

By Holly Einess After several cloudy days, and more on the way, I take this sunny morning as an opportunity to check out the fall colors at the Arboretum. I drop behind the Snyder Building down to the small pond below the waterfall, where a pair of mallard ducks cuts a path through the duckweed,…

Early Autumn Jewels

By Greg Lecker I leave the Trex deck overlook below the Ordway Shelter and enter the path that winds around the north side of Green Heron Pond. Immediately, a cluster of blue berries catches my attention. Arrowwood with Berries A thickly branched bush is flush with dark green leaves and laden with intensely blue berries. …

Going Nuts: The Oak and Nut Tree Collection at the Arboretum

By Alan Branhagen Director of Operations In what tree collection was the first tree planted at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum?  If you answered Oak and Nut Tree Collection you would be correct. Dr. Leon Snyder planted a shellbark hickory (Carya laciniosa) as the very first tree planted at the Arboretum (and actually before the property…

Birds (and more) on Wood Duck Trail

By Holly Einess I arrive at the Arboretum just as the grounds open, hoping to catch some early-morning bird activity. I’ve barely left the parking lot before seeing two goldfinches feasting on coneflower seeds. They are transitioning from their bright breeding plumage to their drabber winter colors. All birds molt—replace their feathers—at least once a…

Late Summer Odyssey

By Mary Beth Pottratz The birds are unusually quiet everywhere I head this morning. The sky has a light haze. Today’s heat warning seems to have kept many away from the Arb. Temperatures have been 20⁰ above normal for weeks. Golden Maximilian sunflowers bloom in bright sunlight. Deep purple New England asters flower in large…

The Oak Search Image

By Sydney Chandler Cars on the Three-Mile Drive have gradually smashed dropped acorns into a nut-butter, and it’s clear that many oak trees are present. This section of the road is home to scarlet, bur, swamp white, and English oaks. Oak can be identified by leaf shape, bark, and acorns. Retaining these visual clues create…

Look Up; Look Down; Look All Around

By Greg Lecker Treasures await those who carefully observe the world around them. Walking into the woodland, I spot a tall branched flower stalk leaning towards me as if to beg that its portrait be taken. Cup Plant From this unusual vantage point, it’s clear to see that the stem pierces the paired leaves (the…

Blooming Fullness

By Holly Einess It’s a nearly perfect August day—mild temps, light breeze, blue sky–and I set off toward Green Heron Pond, taking a moment first to admire all the color and beauty in the Annual Garden. After stopping at the pond overlook—a view I never tire of and is ever-changing—I go only steps before I…

Midsummer Daydream

By Mary Beth Pottratz The Arboretum’s Spring Peeper Meadow is awash with goldenrods in full bloom. The sounds of traffic lighten and the whirr of crickets gets louder as I head along the soft grass trail. A few cicadas saw off and on. The warmth of the earth rises around me, the sky is cloudy,…

Keeping Cool

By Sydney Chandler Wowzer, it’s hot out! A recent hot summer day at the Arboretum consisted of beaming sunshine, cloudless skies, minimal breeze, and temperatures around 90°F. Plants, animals, and visitors to the Arboretum all need strategies for surviving these sweltering temperatures.  Oak Tree Casting Shade As visitors, we don sunscreen, sun hats, and protective…